Imam al-Qushayri's (r.a.) Explanation of the Basmallah

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following is extracted from Imam al-Qushayri’s (r.a.) exegesis of the Basmallah.

The “ba’” in the Basmallah is a grammatical particle of implication.  That is to say, “by means of God”, “bi Allah,” new things become manifest and by means of Him, Created things exist.  There is nothing from any newly created thing, hadits makhluq, or sequence of events, haswil mansuq; or from any perceived thing, ‘ayn, or trace of a thing, atsar; or anything else from rocks or clay, grass or trees, any impression left on the ground, rasm, or standing remains thalal, or any judgement, hukm, or causes, ‘ilal, that has existence except by means of the Real.  The Real is its Sovereign.  Its beginning is from the Real and its return is to the Real.  Through Him, the one who declares the Unity of God finds and through Him the rejecter abandons faith.  Through Him, the one who acknowledges knows, and through Him the one who perpetrates lags behind.

He Said, “In the Name of God”, rather than, “In God”.  According to some people, this is a way of seeking Blessing through mentioning His Name.  According to others, it is because of the difference between this wording and oaths. According to scholars, it is because the name, ism, is the thing that is named, musammah.  In the view of the people of mystical knowledge, ‘irfan, the wording is such in order to seek the purification of hearts from attachments and the liberation of the innermost selves from obstacles so that the word, “God” may enter into a clean heart and purified innermost self.

Upon the mention of this verse, some people are reminded from the letter, “ba’” of His beneficence, birr, with His friends, and from the sin of His Secret, Sirr, with his chosen ones, and from the mim of His Grace, minna, to the people of His friendship, ahl al-walayah.  They know that by His Beneficence, they come to know His Secret, and by His Grace to them, they preserve His Command, and by Him they recognise His Measure.

Other people, upon hearing, “In the Name of God”, are reminded by the “ba’” of the Immunity, bara’ah of God from every evil, and by the sin of His Soundness, Salamah, from any defect, and by the mim of His Magnificence, Majd, in the Exaltedness of His Description.

Others are reminded at the “ba’” of His Splendour, Baha’, and at the sin of His Radiance, Sana’, and at the Mim of His Dominion, Mulk.

Because God has Repeated the verse, “In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful” in every surah except one, and it has been established that it is part of them, we want to mention in every surah, non-repetitive and non-reiterative utterances taken from the allusions of this verse.  Because of this, we will not examine the words exhaustively here.  Through Him there is confidence.


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